#063 Jeremy Hodgen: Teaching low-attaining students, relevance and fingers!

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On this episode of the Mr Barton Maths Podcast, I spoke to Jeremy Hodgen.

Jeremy is a Professor of mathematics education researcher at UCL Institute of Education. He is also the co-author, along with Dylan Wiliam, of Mathematics Inside the Black Box, and the co-creator of the ICCAMS project.

Now, I have known Jeremy for many years, having interviewed him back in the days of the TES Maths Podcast. And when I was lucky enough to sit in on a session he delivered with Colin Foster at BCME about teaching low-ability students – a definite area of weakness of mine – I had to get him back on the show.

So, in a wide-ranging conversation, Jeremy and I discussed the following things, and plenty more besides:

  • Why did a classic CAME lesson on Roofs go wrong, and what did Jeremy learn from the experience?
  • Why was Jeremy at first skeptical about formative assessment, and what changed his mind?
  • Why does Jeremy feel the teacher has a key role to play in motivating students, above and beyond the mathematics itself?
  • What is ICCAMS, and where do these activities sit in the explicit instruction – inquiry spectrum?
  • What were the big takeaways from Jeremy and Colin’s project about teaching low achieving students?
  • When should teachers just tell students things?
  • Why are fingers so important – in a mathematical sense?
  • What is Jeremy’s understanding of the evidence into setting versus mixed attainment?
  • What is Jeremy’s view on relevance in mathematics, and what role do ladders have to play?
  • What is an example of something important that Jeremy has changed his mind about?
  • What does Jeremy wish he’d known when he first started teaching that he knows now?

I found this conversation fascinating. Recent episodes of the podcast seem to have fallen into one of two camps: explicit instruction or inquiry based learning. I am not sure whether the ideas Jeremey talks about lie somewhere in between, or somewhere completely different. And this is something I will reflect upon, as well as diving deeper into my experience with one of the ICCAMS activities, in the Takeaway at the end of the show

Two quick plugs before we crack on:

If you are interested in reading about 12 years of maths teaching mistakes, then maybe take a chance on my book, “How I wish I’d taught maths”, available from all good and evil book stores. And if you have read it, and you have time to give it a quick review, that would be ideal…. So long as it is a good one, of course.

And if you are interested in spreading the word about your product, service or event to 1000s of some of the most intelligent, engaged, connected podcast listeners in the world, then I am now offering the opportunity to sponsor episodes of this podcast. Just drop me an email at [email protected] to find out about the packages available.

Links to things mentioned in the episode:
Mathematics inside the Black Box
CAME “Roofs” lesson
Magdalene Lampert (1990). When the Problem Is Not the Question and the Solution Is Not the Answer: Mathematical Knowing and Teaching

On Twitter Jeremy is @JeremyHodgen

Jeremy Hodgen’s Big 3:
1. Gapminder
2. #CthenC on Twitter
3. MathEd podcast

My usual plugs:

Thanks so much for listening, and I really hope you enjoy the show!
Craig Barton

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